Report: Elderly Residents Not Getting Necessary Preventive Services
The report examined whether elderly U.S. residents were receiving the following preventive services:
- Vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal disease;
- Screenings for breast and colorectal cancer, diabetes, lipid disorders and osteoporosis; and
- Counseling services to help patients quit smoking.
Report Finds Racial Disparities
The report found significant racial disparities in the use of preventive services. For example, the report found that 49% of Asian/Pacific Islanders and 47% of Hispanics have not undergone screenings for colorectal cancer, compared with 34% of whites.
In addition, more than half of Hispanics, 47% of blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders report not having received pneumococcal vaccinations, compared with 36% of whites.
The reasons for the racial disparities are "complex," according to the report. It states that elderly U.S. residents need to be more aware of the preventive services that are available to them under the federal health reform law, and the services that are covered by Medicare.
The report also suggested making some services available in community settings, such as at polling locations during elections (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 3/16).
Medicare Beneficiaries Take Advantage of No-Cost Annual Checkups
About 152,000 Medicare beneficiaries over the past two months have participated in annual wellness visits provided under the health reform law, according to statistics from HHS, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Under the law, beneficiaries as of Jan. 1 became eligible for many no-cost preventive services, including one-time annual check-ups for those enrolled in the Part B program (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 3/16).
According to HHS, a wellness visit and follow-up can cost more than $160 and $105, respectively (Millman, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/16).
HHS officials said the no-cost wellness visits can reduce health expenditures for employers, states and elderly residents (CQ HealthBeat, 3/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.